Landlords say new regulations unnecessary; existing code sufficient

Landlords say new regulations unnecessary; existing code sufficient
Updated: Jan. 24, 2017 at 7:12 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - There is no shortage of renters who say they are getting a bad deal in terms of living conditions.

"In the townhouse where I lived there was a hole in the ceiling so birds, pigeons, rodents, whatever would come in and we would hear them at night. The faucets would steadily run, causing mold, especially in the kitchen," said Trina Lackey.

Last week, members of a City Council committee approved an ordinance designed to better protect tenants. All landlords would be required to register their properties with the city and pass inspections every three years.

But landlords said new regulations are not necessary.

"All you're doing is further chasing more people out this city.  In the last 10 years, we've only had one private development investment in multi-family done, they were all tax credits," said Donald Vallee, chair of the Landlords Association of New Orleans.

Joshua Bruno said he has over 1,000 residential units and thinks the new regulations will hurt good landlords and ultimately renters.

"The bad apples are not going to be regulated and the bad landlords are going to skip it," he said.

Vallee agrees there are unfit landlords.

"We know there's problem landlords out there. We threw them out of our group years ago, and we're willing to do it again," Vallee stated.

"I absolutely agree that there are, but there are other means and tools that the city already has at its disposal with city inspectors that they can already eradicate and handle the situation, even as much as having energy removed, the electrical meter if needed," Bruno said.

Valee thinks the city should first conduct a study.

"I don't think the city has done it's due diligence to identify the scope of what it's going to do, who it's dealing with and how many people it's going to effect."

And for some landlords new regulations would make the short-term rental business more attractive.

"Absolutely, I think you're going to have landlords look to alternative renting, whether it be AirBnb, or you know, or any of these other sites that are out there," said Bruno.

"If they have such a property that is in a neighborhood of such that it is more readily available to transients they can make more money than they can renting somewhere else and that's part of it, that's the American way," said Vallee.

Still, he would rather see landlords stick with traditional rentals given the need for affordable long-term housing and he insists city government needs to do a better job of using existing laws.

"Use the codes that are in effect now and hold them accountable, make them maintain their property," said Vallee.

The measure still requires a full city council vote.

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